The central committee of CPI(M) in November will decide on the issue raised by the party’s West Bengal unit to have a workable relation with Congress during election.
The majority of the party’s politburo and central committee has recently vetoed against Bengal unit’s wish to give party general secretary Sitaram Yechudi a third time in Rajya Sabha with the help of Congress from West Bengal.
Senior central committee leader, Gautam Deb, one of the longest running ministers in left front government in Bengal, even criticised the party’s central leaders, mostly who hail from Kerala, for destroying the party in Bengal.
“If this continues, we will be forced to take a decision about ourselves,” Deb had said.
This has earned sharp criticism within the party. A section of leadership in Bengal, who are opposed to Deb, asked the central committee to take action against him. The Kerala leadership forced politburo to slap a notice on Deb asking how, as a central committee member, he could oppose the decision of the central committee, the highest decision-making body of the party. Interestingly, Deb was not present in the central committee meeting in which the decision was taken not to give Yechuri a nomination.
The politburo asked Deb to submit the reason behind his outburst. Deb has cited a series of reasons on how and under what circumstances he was forced to stop the central leadership taking harsh action that would go against the party.
Asked about his letter to politburo, Deb told THE WEEK, “Let me be out of the controversy I am in. I have submitted in detail what I had to tell the politburo. I will wait for their next course of action before I speak my mind.”
But sources close to him said Deb showed the party's failure to come together with like-minded parties to oppose the BJP.
“Gautam da said when Yechuri was out to coordinate with all secular parties inside the Parliament to create a grand opposition to Modi, he was asked to go or not given a chance to remain as member of the Rajya Sabha,” said a leader close to him.
Deb also reportedly said, “Last party meeting, it was clearly said that the party would not ally with Congress during Lok Sabha or assembly election, but it did not ask party leaders not to work against the BJP with the help of Congress.”
Deb categorically said that CPI(M) was losing its stature and importance nationally because of a group of leaders who represented certain areas.
The politburo discussed the issue in threadbare and Deb’s viewpoints were discussed among the leaders in the politburo. Deb himself, one of the top contender in the party’s politburo last time, stayed away from the race because of ill health.
But despite his limited mobility, Deb’s outburst showed that he was not alone, and that he represented a section of the CPI(M) leaders in Bengal. The politburo resisted itself from taking next course of action, but referred the matter to the central committee as well.
Next central committee might ask the politburo to decide the fate of Deb.
That Deb receives immense support from a section of the party was evident from the fact that the party’s lone Rajya Sabha MP from Bengal, Ritabrata Banerjee, posted two photos on social media recently calling them as the leaders of the masses, but not of the coterie in the party. The photos were of Gautam Deb and late CPI(M) leader Subhash Chakraborty.
Interestingly, Banerjee is also facing an inquiry on his non-communist lifestyle and has been placed under suspension by the party. His fate was also discussed in the politburo yesterday and a section of leaders from Kerala demanded his explusion.
But sources said leaders like Surya Kanta Mishra and Mohammed Salim restrained others saying it would have severe impact against the party in Bengal and inside the Parliament.
CPI(M) is on the verge of collapse today. Central committee and politburo, which is now dominated by anti-Bengal lobby, would want leaders to follow the path as established in the rule books. But West Bengal leadership believes that it does not have any other option left to revive the party in the state other than joining hands with the Congress and other parties.
Politburo unanimously asked party secretary Yechuri to prepare a draft on its relation with Congress and other parties and place it before the next central committee meeting in November.